The world’s top-performing stock is … a mortgage company?

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Been wondering what the best-performing stock in the world was in January? Well, I just got an e-mail from Russell Investments informing me that it was Impac Mortgage Holdings, an Irvine, Calif., based REIT that specializes in buying Alt-A mortgages. IMH was up a stunning 156% in January.

What was the secret to that amazing performance? Well, falling 94% over the course of last year may have had something to do with it.

Rounding out the top five, by the way, were:

Idenix Pharmaceuticals, U.S., 92%
Egdon Resources, U.K. 68%
Hung Poo Construction, Taiwan, 64%
Labopharm, Canada, 63%

(and yes, this entire post really was just an excuse to write the name “Hung Poo”)